Trenton Charlson’s New York Times crossword—Amy’s write-up
Usually I’m not keen on themeless grids packed with 7-letter answers, because too often they’re loaded with dullness. Today’s constructor treats us to plenty of zippy fill in the 7 range, though. B.J. NOVAK, LUDDITE (… not technically “zippy,” I suppose), DAD JOKE, SWAGGER, CAKE MIX, RICO ACT, RISOTTO, CTHULHU, NOXZEMA, “AMIRITE?,” CAPTCHA, EAT IT UP, GO GREEN, and KEEBLER? I approve! “BUT NO” is also kinda fun.
- 8a. [Co-star of “The Office” who played Ryan Howard], B.J. NOVAK. I met him at a book signing, where the line was filled with young women who were skipping class or work to meet him. One More Thing is a collection of mostly very short stories, so I had time to read several of the stories (which tend to be funny in an odd way) while waiting. When I reached the author’s table, I said I was impressed that he’d included the word leporid in one story. “Oh, did you know that word?,” he asked. He’d had to look it up in order to use it in the book. *sad trombone*
- 26a. [Miss], GIRL. Ugh, “miss.”
- 29a. [“No ___ can live forever”: Martin Luther King Jr.], LIE. Great quote. Man, I hope that’s true.
- 33a. [Bravado], SWAGGER. The constructor is young. I bet he had a different clue here.
- 37a. [Speed of sound], MACH ONE. Eww, spelled out number. Two of this answer’s crossings have “one” in their clue, which is just further poking the hornet’s nest.
- 56a. [“Delta of Venus” author], NIN. That book’s got some steamy tales. No leporid, though.
- 12d. [Rendering useless], VOIDING. Why do I have to pee suddenly?
Nice clues for 39d and 41d, too.
4.25 stars from me. Nice themeless debut from this constructor.
Jeffrey Wechsler’s LA Times crossword – Gareth
The theme concept is formulaic, but very well executed. The letter addition has a clever revealer, telling us that AS is NECESSARY; and the created phrases create strong, if outlandish, images.
The 11/14/15/14/11 theme pattern forced our constructor into an imbalanced grid, with 40 squares, but only 72 words – significantly increasing the difficulty of landing the fill. So some odd plurals are encountered and a few chestnuts like both ECLAT and ELAN show up, as do a few awkward partial phrases…
The best moment outside of the theme was YODA clued as [Small figure wielding much force?]